Does acupuncture hurt?
No, it shouldn't be painful, but everyone's experience and pain threshold are different and so, you are always encouraged to give us feedback so that we can make any necessary adjustments and ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout your visit. With our tiny needles and skilled technique, most people make remarks like "that's it?" during their first visits.
What does it feel like?
You might notice some localized or traveling sensations like tingles, achiness, coolness, warmth, tension, and/or twitching. These sensations often occur when we find the right spot (we call this De Qi) and they might also come and go throughout your time on the table.
It is also normal to tear up (and possibly cry like a baby - it's ok, it is great to let it out!), feel sleepy, or fall asleep, snore, fart, wake yourself up doing either of the last two (also, nothing to worry about). You might also experience an altered sense of time (don't worry we will never forget about you) or you might feel nothing at all.
All these experiences show you your body is working to make some positive adjustments, and any, all, or none are all accepted as normal.
How big are the needles?
Tiny! Our acupuncture needles are quite close to the thickness of human hair and we use different lengths depending on the area being treated. For context, about 22 acupuncture needles fit into the tip of a hypodermic needle! We tailor our needle choice depending on the size and sensitivity level of each patient.
What does acupuncture treat?
Anything! Well, almost. Acupuncture works by helping your body to heal itself, and so, many conditions can benefit from this treatment. As long as it doesn't require emergency care, it's possible that acupuncture can help!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the benefit of acupuncture for over 100 different conditions including pain, many women's health complaints, infertility, mental & emotional conditions, motor vehicle accidents & sports injuries, anxiety, depression, and stress.
Here are a few of the conditions that are worth getting poked for!
- Joint pain, muscle pain, tendonitis, frozen shoulder, acute or chronic sports injuries, headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis ...
- Common cold, immune-boosting, allergies, asthma, sinusitis ...
- High/low blood pressure, palpitations, anemia...
- Concussion care, post-stroke...
- Digestive issues, IBS, acid reflux, colitis, chrons, diarrhea, constipation, bloating ...
- Insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, overthinking, adrenal fatigue, addictions, and smoking cessation ...
- Fertility support, pregnancy-related conditions, labor preparation, PMS, menstrual disorders, pelvic pain, menopausal symptoms...
- Eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes, acne ...
- Cancer supportive care
....and much more.
How does it work?
Well, it depends on who you ask, and with every explanation, there is still some mystery involved. Whether we see it as a direct biochemical process, increasing blood circulation, regulation of the nervous system, fascial integration, the placebo effect, or the balancing of qi, the one thing we do know is that it simply helps your body do more of what it should and less of what it shouldn't and the exact reason is less important given the results.
What are the risks and/or side effects?
Acupuncture has few risks if it is provided by a qualified professional who has been educated and trained according to the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners & Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA). The most common side effects of acupuncture include bleeding, soreness, or bruising at the site of needle insertion.
What parts of the body do you usually put needles in?
We primarily use points on your head, ears, and your limbs below your elbows and knees. No need to take your clothes off. Just dress comfy in shirts and pants that can easily roll up to your elbows and knees.
Why don’t you always put the needles where I am feeling pain?
Because we are magic. AND because we don't need to. In fact, we find that we achieve stronger and longer-lasting treatment results if we don't. Utilizing the connections between the acupuncture channels, we can place a point in one area to affect another. This not only addresses the isolated areas of pain or blockage but treats the body as one interconnected system. Which is what we are all about here. We know it sounds a bit crazy, but the first time you feel a point on your hand relieve your neck pain, you won't mind, we promise.
What if I can't relax?
You will likely be surprised at how much the points can assist you to relax. Even still, if you don't feel blissed out on the table the acupuncture will still work. We recommend that you bring in headphones with a downloaded audiobook, podcast, or music that you like plus an eye mask, to give yourself the best chance to unwind (or to distract you if that's where you're at, which is ok too). In time you will be able to relax more and more, we promise.
Do I need to "believe" in acupuncture for it to work?
We want to say no, but we do believe that positive expectations do play a part in healing. Research shows that Acupuncture is successful when treating animals and babies and they don't even know what is happening to them! So, we're not saying you have to drink our TCM kool-aid, but we would encourage you to experience what acupuncture can offer you with an open mind.